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SAP TechEd 2019 Las Vegas Experience Recap: Mindfulness, DevOps and more

SAP TechEd has come to an end in Las Vegas and as the sun sets on SAP’s biggest technology conference for the last time, I am delighted to have had the opportunity to take part in it. As you may have heard, SAP TechEd will be held in Austin Texas next year and to me, that sounds great!

This marks the end of a chapter. I still remember my very first visit to SAP TechEd Las Vegas more than four years ago when I lucked out and got my copy of the book The In-Memory Revolution signed by Bernd Leukert himself! This year’s TechEd has a sense of familiarity and remains definitely the biggest SAP-related technology conference I have had the chance to attend in terms of the sheer scale of the event venue and the plethora of technical sessions and lectures. Hats off to the organizers for another stellar execution, everything was simply first-class.

The event kicked off with a keynote from Juergen Mueller and I could not imagine a better start to SAP’s biggest tech conference than to hear directly from the SAP CTO in a room packed with thousands of technology enthusiasts. I don’t recall SAP ever having this breadth and depth in its technology portfolio but the message from Juergen Mueller was right on point: “we want our customers to have maximum business impact”. It’s definitely the focus and takeaway I’ll bring back with me in my daily work of helping SAP partners innovate using SAP technologies and platforms and deliver value to customers. In the keynote, Juergen Mueller laid out a grand vision and shared insights on how intelligence is the key when combining operational data and experience data.

There were a lot of exciting new announcements and one of my favorites was definitely the SAP Graph. The demo was a great illustration of the simplicity of this new tool and how it will significantly help those wishing to easily build new extensions and apps with SAP. Another personal highlight for me was to hear from John Thimsen, the CTO of Qualtrics on the XM platform. His talk about closing the experience gap is something everyone could related to and I am sure every product owner in the room wanted to get their hands on Qualtrics after seeing the demo on product features vs customer sentiment. Cool stuff !

This year, the technical content at TechEd did not disappoint. I learned a lot about SAP’s latest and greatest technologies thanks to the multitude of technical sessions and more particularly on the topics of DevOps, Qualtrics, Kyma, SAP C/4HANA and the SAP Cloud Platform. Between meeting the exhibitors, hearing from experts or recharging at the SAP Community Lounge, there was rarely a dull moment and always something interesting to do.

Oh did I mention the presence of Puppies with purpose? Kudos to whoever came up with this as it looks like it was a hit (the line was too long for me).

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to give a talk on a topic that is quite unusual for me and something definitely beyond my customary technical scope: mindfulness.

At first glance, such a topic can seem out of place for many developers and so I wanted to tackle this perception. Recent studies indicate that mindfulness can help improve stress, focus, team work, communication and creativity to name a few. Having been involved in software development directly and indirectly for more than a decade now, it is easy to see how these benefits can help alleviate some of the challenges faced in development teams. As you can guess, “Building Better Software” is a reference to DevOps. According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, did you know that 90% of people who are doing DevOps think that they are failing at it? More importantly, people-related factors tend to be the greatest challenges in DevOps initiatives according to another study by Gartner. Indeed, the most important factors in DevOps success whether it’s a DevOps adoption or transformation, are people-related factors.

As DevOps becomes mainstream, it is important to not lose sight that what really makes or breaks code, the so-called secret sauce is really the people (more than the tools or technologies). This is where mindfulness comes into play and in my talk, I shared some of the latest findings from evidence-based research on the benefits of mindfulness and how it can have an impact not only at the individual level but at the team level as well. Hey, if it is good enough for championship-winning teams such as the Lakers and elite players like Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, why not software development teams right?

I really enjoyed delivering the talk in what was undoubtedly the coolest and wildest theatre at TechEd and after 2 talks in one week (I did a presentation for ASUG right before), I am glad to head back.

It’s a wrap. It’s time to leave the desert and head for greener pastures. Hopefully, I’ll have the chance to try the famed breakfast tacos in Austin in the future…

I would like to thank Craig Cmehil, Mynyna Chau and the amazing SAP Community Team for their awesome work and for daring to include mindfulness in a tech conference;)-

It’s really refreshing to see such a level of enthusiasm and passion from people driving the SAP community. Keep up the great work ! For the lucky ones attending SAP TechEd Barcelona, be sure to check out the SAP Community Lounge over there. Enjoy !

 

Innovating with SAP Partners, Intelligent Enterprise, TechEd SIA 2019

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  • Hi David,

    it was great to meet you, I enjoyed your session very much!

    I was kind of amused when you mentioned how you got into this topic. At the same time I like how you connected your personal experience with what’s relevant for everyone else, especially when working in a dynamic tech-industry.

    Keep the good work going and thanks for sharing your experience in a blog post with all of us here in the SAP Community.

    Mynyna